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Showing posts with label Crime. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Crime. Show all posts

Jun 16, 2019

The Hacker Wars (2014)



(h)ac(k)tivist [noun]: a person who uses technology to bring about social change. "The Hacker Wars" - a film about the targeting of (h)ac(k)tivists, activists and journalists by the US government. There is a war going on - the war for our minds, "The Hacker Wars". The government needs to control information. The film follows the information warriors who are fighting back, and it depicts the dangerous battle in which (h)ac(k)tivists fight for information freedom. Hacktivists impact the world in a new way by using the government's information against itself to call out those in power. Meet the hacktivists: "weev", Barrett Brown, Jeremy Hammond. They try to change the world and sometimes they go to jail.

Apr 22, 2019

Sacco and Vanzetti (2006)


Filmmaker Peter Miller explores the crimes, trial, and execution of notorious 20th-century anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti in a documentary that highlights just how this landmark case came to symbolize the injustice and intolerance experienced by immigrants longing to pursue their dreams in the land of the free. It was 1920 when Italian immigrant anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti were accused of murder in Massachusetts.

Seven years later, when the jurors delivered their final verdict in a notoriously prejudiced trial, both men were condemned to death despite massive protests both in the U.S. and abroad. Eight decades later, as America continues to wrestle with issues of civil rights, immigrant liberties, and dissent, the case of Sacco and Vanzetti continues to resonate.

In addition to balancing the personal and political aspects of the case as well as looking into the legal climate of the era, Miller's film brings the prison writings of Sacco and Vanzetti to life as never before as Tony Shalhoub and John Turturro read the deeply personal letters written by the pair during their ordeal. Additional music, artwork, poetry, and film clips inspired by the case propel the narrative by highlighting just what a lasting impression the Sacco and Vanzetti case has had on American culture.

Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple (2006)


Produced for the PBS series American Experience, Stanley Nelson's Jonestown: The Life and Death of the Peoples' Temple, written by his frequent collaborator Marcia Smith, examines the infamous religious cult formed by Jim Jones and the events that led to the group's horrifying mass suicide in 1978. The film traces Jones' history from his unhappy childhood in rural Indiana.

Witnesses describe a strange, charismatic young man who nursed a seemingly sincere desire for social justice, but also reputedly murdered small animals as a child. Jones' desire to befriend people across color and class lines alienated his family and neighbors. Eventually, he moved to Indianapolis, where, as a young Pentecostal minister, he started the city's first integrated church.

Eventually, Jones moved his church to California to escape the racism he perceived in Indiana. In Redwood Valley, his church took on a new life, and he began aggressively recruiting new members. At first, members were required to tithe a percentage of their worth, but eventually, they were expected to relinquish all of their "worldly goods" to the Temple. In 1974, Jones moved to San Francisco, where he acquired some political clout before his high profile caught up with him.

Just before a damaging exposé was published, he moved his people to what was meant to be a "paradise" outside the racism and oppression of America, in Guyana. Nelson interviews eyewitnesses, including many former members of the Temple, and members of Congressman Leo Ryan's staff who managed to escape when the congressman's investigatory visit ended in bloodshed. The film had its world premiere at the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival.

Apr 15, 2019

Cocaine Cowboys (2006)


The sordid history of drug trafficking in Miami is sodden with seemingly endless quantities of dope, money, and corpses. Documentary filmmaker Billy Corben divides his absorbing account of crime and consequences into three distinct sections: outlining the basics of cocaine importation and distribution; analyzing the detrimental societal effects of a city awash in illegal cash; and cataloging the runaway violence that accompanies the inevitable drug wars.

A procession of flamboyant dealers and paid assassins wax nostalgic about the drug trade, while police detectives and crime reporters supply the social commentary.

The "stars" include major cocaine dealer Jon Roberts and expert transporter Mickey Munday, whose reminiscences bridge the period during which a once-sleepy retirement town became into a glitzy playground for fast-living Eurotrash.

And if the hard-driving score sounds appropriately familiar, it’s due to composer Jan Hammer, who also provided the rat-tat-tat music for the ‘80s hit series Miami Vice.

Apr 14, 2019

Capturing the Friedmans (2003)


Truth is often more harrowing than fiction, but it is a desperately elusive entity; even in a case such as the one explored in this disturbing but mesmerizing documentary, for which first-time filmmaker Andrew Jarecki enjoyed remarkable access to his subjects. Even Jarecki, who persuaded the family of accused child molesters Arnold and Jesse Friedman to cooperate with him, cannot decide whether the two are guilty, and his film raises as many questions as answers.

Capturing the Friedmans deals with the middle-class Long Island family torn apart in 1987 by child-molestation charges filed after a police raid uncovered kiddie porn apparently belonging to dad Arnold, a respected high school science teacher. He and his 18-year-old son, Jesse, were subsequently accused of molesting dozens of young boys, and their travails are painstakingly documented in this videotaped compilation, which even includes family footage recorded by another Friedman son, David.

We see strategy sessions between Arnold and his attorneys, conflicting testimony from alleged victims, posturing by police investigators and legal teams, and even the heartrending family farewells taped the night... (Barnes & Noble)

The Iceman: Confessions of a Mafia Hitman (2001)


The Iceman is an appropriate title for this pair of HBO specials, because the words of former Mafia enforcer Richard Kuklinski will chill you to the bone.

Speaking in the monotonous drone of a man who has numbed himself with remorseless brutality, Kuklinski was first interviewed in 1991, five years after receiving consecutive life sentences for multiple murders.

Specializing in the tidy use of cyanide, Kuklinski lived a double life, like the fictional hitmen in The Sopranos and Road to Perdition, passing as a "businessman" and devoted husband and father. He describes numerous killings in graphic detail, expressing nearly tearful regret only when lamenting the deception of his family.

A vicious product of child abuse, Kuklinski was visited again by HBO in 2001, but this shameless redundancy was an obvious attempt to capitalize on the Sopranos phenomenon. Fascinating as a firsthand record of Mafia killing, these otherwise unsavory interviews serve little purpose beyond morbid exploitation.

Directed by: Arthur Ginsberg

Memory of the Camps (1985)


Sixty years ago, in the spring of 1945, Allied forces liberating Europe found evidence of atrocities which have tortured the world's conscience ever since. As the troops entered the German concentration camps, they made a systematic film record of what they saw. Work began in the summer of 1945 on the documentary, but the film was left unfinished.

FRONTLINE found it stored in a vault of London's Imperial War Museum and, in 1985, broadcast it for the first time using the title the Imperial War Museum gave it, 'Memory of the Camps.

You may have heard the news that the world will soon see "Alfred Hitchcock's unseen Holocaust documentary." That intriguing sounding announcement belies a more complicated reality. This new, restored film draws on footage shot by the British Army Film Unit in Nazi concentration camps in 1945, which was actually released in the mid-80s, in a film called Memory of the Camps.

This first version, which you can watch above, took nearly forty years to reach the public, when it was finally released in 1984, first at the Berlin Film Festival, then on PBS. Until that time, the original footage sat unused in storage at the Imperial War Museum, consigned there after the Allied military government decided that such publicity for Nazi atrocities wouldn't get Germany reconstructed any faster. How, right in the aftermath of the Second World War, might we have reacted to its hauntingly revealing coverage of Bergen-Belsen?

According to the Independent, a screening of Memory of the Camps' material left even Alfred Hitchcock, certainly no stranger to death and malevolence, "so traumatised that he stayed away from Pinewood Studios for a week." He'd shown up there in the first place as an advisor, and in that capacity offered director Sidney Bernstein advice on how, visually, to place these shocking revelations in a recognizable geographical and human context. "He took a circle round each concentration camp as it were on a map, different villages, different places and the numbers of people," Bernstein remembers. "Otherwise you could show a concentration camp, as you see them now, and it could be anywhere, miles away from humanity. He brought that into the film."


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